The increasing amount of tourism in Africa has had especially strong effects in Nigeria, which has the fastest growing tourism center in not only the continent, but the world. Leaders are seeking to foster this growth as they meet this week at the country’s first tourism planning meeting. The meeting’s purpose is to enhance the tourism sector and improve its spread across the country. Currently, the industry provides 22% of the jobs in the country, and leaders believe that, with careful expansion, it can provide even more.
Namibia has long attracted tourists not only due to its rich natural beauty, but also its strong cultural appeal. The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uahekua Herunga, heralded the Olufuko Festival in the North as a great draw four tourists.
As the tourism industry develops, however, the National Tourism Department works hard to ensure that the environment is protected. Namibia has long been developing “responsible tourism” as a way to attract tourists while still preserving the country’s natural attractions, which in turn draw more tourists.
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Mozambique has recently ratified the Nagoyo Protocol, a protocol concerning access to and sharing of genetic resources and information. The protocol addresses the legal framework surrounding the complicated issue of genetic resources and is intended to serve as a transparency boost for the already existing United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The language of the protocol focuses on equitable sharing of information and resources, and addresses issues such as indigenous and local communities granting access to genetic resources, as well as traditional knowledge associated with genetic information and materials.
Mozambique will be the thirtieth nation to ratify the Nagoyo Protocol, but fifty nations are needed before it can enter into force. Notably absent from the list of ratified countries is the United States, a key player in the field of genetics.
The Nagoyo Protocol also aims to promote conservation and environmentalist efforts, increasing the amount of land per nation promised to be made into protected regions. The attempt towards stronger conservation policies and protection of biodiversity is supported by the Mozambique Government, which recognizes the importance of biodiversity and genetic resources.
Over the past few years, South Africa has slowly been making progress in environmental reforms. So far, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found reductions in carbon and energy have taken place, as well as better management of its natural resources, including water, biodiversity, and mineral resources. Moving towards a lower-carbon and more energy efficient society has allowed South Africa to maintain a better environmental quality of life.
In many cases, South Africa has been able to catch up with the developed world in its environmental standards, sometimes even surpassing the accomplishments that the developed world has made. Regardless, the country still releases great quantities of carbon emissions, and as a result many of South Africa’s rivers and lakes are polluted. Indoor coal and paraffin stoves decrease the air quality inside homes for millions of people across South Africa.
Environmental reform in South Africa faces some challenges as it progresses. One challenge is integrating the consideration of biodiversity when making policies for mining, energy, and coastal management. In the past these activities had been unchecked, especially during the urban development period, leaving a many river ecosystems endangered, depleting water resources, and damaging the country’s biodiversity. The country has made much progress in the area of environmental reform, but still has some changes to make to its policies before it can truly set an example for the rest of the world.